Reading the trees in Wadsworth Falls State Park

  • 2013.06.10 - Middlefield, CT - Naturalist Lucy Meigs of Durham (right) identifies trees for Durham residents (from left to right) Annette Olma, Terry Olma and Amy Moore during a hike that Meigs led through Wadsworth Falls State Park. Photograph by Will Parson | wparson@courant.com
  • 2013.06.10 - Middlefield, CT - Naturalist Lucy Meigs of Durham invites hikers to feel the texture of a birch leaf. Photograph by Will Parson | wparson@courant.com
  • 2013.06.10 - Middlefield, CT - A newt crosses a trail during a tree identification hike led by naturalist Lucy Meigs of Durham. Photograph by Will Parson | wparson@courant.com
  • 2013.06.10 - Middlefield, CT - Naturalist Lucy Meigs of Durham (front) identifies trees and other wildlife while leading a hike through Wadsworth Falls State Park. Photograph by Will Parson | wparson@courant.com
  • 2013.06.10 - Middlefield, CT - Naturalist Lucy Meigs of Durham identified trees and other wildlife while leading a hike through Wadsworth Falls State Park. Photograph by Will Parson | wparson@courant.com
  • 2013.06.10 - Middlefield, CT - Naturalist Lucy Meigs of Durham identifies trees and other wildlife while leading a hike through Wadsworth Falls State Park on Monday. Meigs started the grant-funded organization Everyone Outside three years ago to connect children and adults with the natural world. "If they just connect with it, have fun it, that's the most correlated with environmental stewardship later on," said Meigs, who is bringing her expertise along with some small amphibians to Story Hour at the Durham Farmer's Market on June 20, starting at 4:00 p.m. Photograph by Will Parson | wparson@courant.com
  • 2013.06.10 - Middlefield, CT - Tadpoles crowd a pond in Wadsworth Falls State Park on Monday. Naturalist Lucy Meigs of Durham, who led a tree identification hike through the park, started the grant-funded organization Everyone Outside three years ago to connect children and adults with the natural world. "If they just connect with it, have fun it, that's the most correlated with environmental stewardship later on," said Meigs, who is bringing her expertise along with some small amphibians to Story Hour at the Durham Farmer's Market on June 20, starting at 4:00 p.m. Photograph by Will Parson | wparson@courant.com
  • 2013.06.10 - Middlefield, CT - Naturalist Lucy Meigs of Durham holds a young American frog that was migrating from a pond at Wadsworth Falls State Park. Photograph by Will Parson | wparson@courant.com

Lucy Meigs of Durham, CT, says she can identify most trees just by their bark, and on Monday she led a small group through Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middlefield, CT, using all sorts of tree features — from the veins of their leaves to the smell of their roots — to tell them apart. More than anything, the goal of the hike was to get people outside.

“If we don’t keep up our own connection to the outside world, we don’t share it with others,” says the Durham naturalist, who started Everyone Outside three years ago and has received grant funding to get people of all ages to experience and appreciate nature. With support from the Rockfall Foundation, for example, Meigs has been able to work with elementary and middle school students in Middletown, getting them outside for nature walks.

“If they just connect with (nature), have fun with it, that’s the most correlated with environmental stewardship later on,” Meigs said.

Meigs will be doing a show and tell of sorts with some small creatures before and after Story Hour at the Durham Farmer’s Market on Thursday, June 20, starting at 4:00 p.m.

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